A Mighty Heart



Powerful docudrama is for mature viewers.
  • Review Date: October 15, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Mariane and her friends, Danny's co-workers, bravely aid Pakistani police in the search for the kidnapped Danny.


Disturbing photos and video of both a captured Danny and suspects being tortured during police interrogations; upsetting pivotal scene in which a group watches the footage of Danny's murder. Mariane cries and screams when she finds out her husband's fate.


A discreet flashback of Mariane and Danny making love, cuddling in bed, and dancing at a club. They also hug and kiss each other the day he's abducted.


Many uses of "f--k" after Mariane and her friends find out Danny has been abducted and then killed (pretty understandable given the context). Other curses include "s--t," "a--hole," etc.


Just the prominently featured Wall Street Journal (where Danny worked) and CNN.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Wine at a couple of dinner parties.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this docudrama probably won't interest the majority of kids -- only the most mature teens will want to see the story of a woman's mission to save her kidnapped husband. But since Angelina Jolie is the star, and the story of Daniel Pearl's abduction and videotaped murder has been widely reported, some tweens/young teens might be curious. While the actual killing isn't shown, snippets of the preceding video are, as are photos of Danny in captivity and images of suspects being briefly tortured while interrogated. There's also a great deal of harsh language ("f--k," "s--t", etc.), almost all prompted by despair and anger at Danny's capture and death.

Kids say

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What's the story?

A MIGHTY HEART is one of those fact-based films where the audience is fully aware of the inevitable, grim climax; no matter how calm the early conversations are between married journalists Mariane (Angelina Jolie) and Daniel (Dan Futterman) Pearl, you know the bloody, heartbreaking end is near. Director Michael Winterbottom doesn't focus solely on Mariane, as a more sentimental director might have; rather, he closely depicts everyone intimately involved in the race to find Pearl -- from Danny's Wall Street Journal editor and colleagues to an American consulate official (Will Patton) to dogged Pakistani detectives led by "Captain" (Indian star Irfan Khan, a master of subtlety). As Captain and his crews scour the overcrowded streets of Karachi for clues (suspects) and Mariane and the WSJ reporters use a white board to connect the various players in the kidnapping, the tension is alleviated with flashbacks to Danny's last day as a free citizen and his life with Mariane. The brief scenes of the Pearls on their wedding day, dancing on vacation, and talking in bed are the heart of the film; they show what Danny's killers have destroyed. When the terrorists' horrifying photos of a bound Danny arrive accompanied by published accusations that Pearl is a CIA agent -- or worse, a Mossad operative -- the audience is again reminded that there is sadly only one outcome, no matter how close Captain and the FBI get to catching the kidnappers. Of course, that final, grisly beheading video is never re-created. It doesn't need to be, because by that point in the film, we've already played some version of it over and over again in our minds.

Is it any good?


Jolie, in her finest performance since 1999's Girl, Interrupted plays Mariane beautifully. Every curl is in place, every Cuban-French-accented word is well rehearsed, and every reaction to the media whirlwind that eventually surrounds her is completely understood. Clearly the most buzzed-about celebrity mama in the world wants to show that she can still act, and her intimate portrayal proves that.

A Mighty Heart obviously isn't an easy film to see, but it provides a realistic, sometimes harrowing look at what the days between Pearl's capture and killing were like for those desperate to find him. And in the process, it gives Danny's admirable life and his courageous wife a touching tribute.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the significance of Daniel Pearl's kidnapping and murder. Why did it garner so much media attention? How do you feel about the fact that the media broadcast images of Pearl's beheading?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 21, 2007
DVD release date:October 16, 2007
Cast:Angelina Jolie, Dan Futterman, Irrfan Khan
Director:Michael Winterbottom
Studio:Paramount Vantage
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language.

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 11, 14, and 15 year old Written bycashed12 July 23, 2010

Graphic and obscene,Not for kids.

A highly explicit movie with a not-so-good twist of a drama,Not for anyone under 16
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byjuve July 24, 2010
Adult Written byleigh55 April 9, 2008


AMH is a brilliant film with an amazing cast of characters who portrayed their part very well.Angelina Jolie in particular gave a very strong and powerful performance that will stay with me for a long time-a great portrayal of the courageous Mariane Pearl.


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